It’s time for a 5 Minute Grammar lesson! Most of my posts focus on mistakes in writing, but this is a mistake I’ve been hearing a lot lately. I don’t know if I never paid attention to it before, but just lately I’ve heard my kids say it, my husband say it, and perfect strangers too.
For instance, the swing was kaput at the local playground. Last week when we were swinging, a little girl ran up and said: “The swing’s BROKE.” Well, technically, the swing has no money so it can’t be broke – it is technically BROKEN.
BROKE – can either be used as a verb (past tense of break ~ She broke the swing) OR as an adjective – to describe something that has no money. I am BROKE. A sad reality…
BROKEN – can also be used as a verb (past participle of break ~ The swing has been broken) OR as an adjective – to describe something that is damaged. The swing is BROKEN. It’s not right to say that the swing is broke because I’m pretty sure it never had any money to begin with.
So next time something breaks, make sure to say it’s broken - unless you really mean that your car has no money. There’s a pretty big difference in meaning between BROKE and BROKEN.
And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar lesson.